Leeds and Newcastle in mercantile court call

LAW societies in the north east will this month present a dossier of evidence to the Lord Chancellor's Department demonstrating the need for a mercantile court in the region.

A joint working party, set up by the Leeds and Newcastle societies, is putting the finishing touches to its LCD submission.

Lord Mackay indicated on a recent visit to Leeds that he was in favour of locally-based commercial courts provided there was a demand.

Yorkshire lawyers have been campaigning for a mercantile court for several years but it was not until June that they pooled resources with Newcastle with a view to setting up a centre serving the whole of the north east.

Roger Ibbotson, chair of the Leeds' society's civil litigation committee, says a questionnaire sent to members revealed “definite evidence of demand for the service”.

Ibbotson says a mercantile court would clearly benefit the region's business community.

Mercantile courts have already proved successful in Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.